This Shabbos we read Parshas Behar. In the Parsha the Torah tells us the laws of the Shemittah year, the Sabbatical year, when every single Jewish landowner had to let his fields rest for a year. No work could be done with the fields, and all fruit that grew on its own during this year had to be shared evenly with whoever wanted it. For this year, the owner of the field had no rights to its produce more than anyone else.
This mitzvah of Shemittah was an amazing lesson in bitachon - in trust in Hashem. For a full year every farmer was expected to let his fields sit fallow. He would get up in the morning and see them sitting empty. He would sit down for lunch and again see them lying fallow. At night he would go to sleep as he still noticed the fields around his house empty. This went on day in and day out, week after week, month after month, for a full year. This mitzvah was given to every Jewish farmer, regardless of how much or how little he knew of Jewish law. Where could every farmer get the strength to be able to keep this mitzvah? The only way one could possibly keep this mitzvah was with an absolute firm feeling of trust in Hashem, knowing that He and He alone decides how much money we will earn and how much we will have, and that we must follow His Torah in all situations.
Right after the mitzvah of Shemittah, the Torah tells us the mitzvah of helping a poor Jew. “And if your brother will become poor .. you shall help him” (Leviticus 25:35) Why is this mitzvah right next to the mitzvah of shemittah?
The commentaries explain that the Torah is trying to teach us the proper use of this powerful trait of Bitachon, of trust in Hashem. Perhaps one will say, after having learned all about the concept of Bitachon, that he does not have to help support the poor person. Instead of helping him with money, one may be tempted to simply give the poor person a lesson of trust in Hashem. Therefore the Torah insists on pointing out to us right away that the feelings of Bitachon, of trust in Hashem, are only to be used for ourselves. When we keep Shemittah we must strengthen ourselves with trust in Hashem. When the issue of helping someone else arises, we must do our best to fulfill this mitzvah and help him as much as can. Excuses of relying on Hashem or false pity are not the way we are obligated to help our fellow Jew.